Somebody’s Hurting Our People and It’s Gone On Far Too Long

BarberA Bible Study designed by Benjamin Isaak-Krauss, for the Poor People’s Campaign

Comments for facilitators:
This Bible Study is designed to be interactive and collaborative. Timeframe: 90 minutes

Objectives:
– Provide low-key way for religious folks to connect with Poor People’s Campaign, build community
– Highlight biblical tradition of care for the poor & resistance to oppression
– Frame civil disobedience as expression of faithfulness to God & our moral values as well as a strategic means
– Invite reflection on what our faith demands of us. Continue reading

Praying and Preying

BarberThis week Rev. William Barber was asked about the preacher who was asked to pray at the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The white Southern Baptist pastor has spoken out against Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, gay men and lesbians, Mormonism. Barber’s response:

That same group of people will go in and pray—P-R-A-Y—with President Trump and his other allies in the Congress and bless them, while Trump and his allies are preying—P-R-E-Y-I-N-G—on the poor and the broken and the hurting and the least among. It is sad. It is theological malpractice. It is costing people their lives. It is mean-spirited. And the world should stand up and speak out against it. And clergy and people of faith should speak out against it. And we should stop, in the media, assigning “Christian” and “evangelical” to persons like this. If we say it, we should say it in quotes, or we should call it what it is. It is not Christianity. It is not evangelicalism. It is not the religion of Jesus, who, in his first sermon, said to follow Jesus was to preach good news to the poor, to care for the brokenhearted, to provide liberty and healing to the bruised, and to declare the acceptable year of the lord. Nothing in that says endorse killing, endorse hatred, endorsed meanness.

Graffitis, Curses and Inscriptions

ParisNext week marks the 50th anniversary of the volatile period of civil unrest in Paris during May 1968, punctuated by demonstrations and massive general strikes, as well as the occupation of universities and factories across France. The unrest began with a series of student occupation protests against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism and traditional institutions, values and order. These are some “graffitis, curses and inscriptions of May 1968” from a [free] little book called Boredom Weeps published May 1, 2018 by Black Ink and Interference Archive.

Hijack life then rewrite its user’s manual.

Talk to your neighbors.

Patriotism rhymes with Fascism. Continue reading

They’ll Return Week After Week

PPC, MassachusettsYesterday, more than a thousand people of faith and conscience were arrested nation-wide in acts of civil disobedience in front of state capital buildings.  The Poor People’s Campaign has returned and will continue for forty days.  It’s not too late to join up and throw in with this movement that comes with specific demands for lawmakers: federal and state minimum wage laws “commensurate for the 21st century economy”, relief from student-loan debt, a repeal of the 2017 GOP tax cuts legislation, restoration of the Voting Rights Act, an end to mass incarceration, a fracking ban, protection of public lands, a cessation of US military involvement and universal healthcare.

This is from co-director Liz Theoharis on Democracy Now yesterday:

…in almost 40 states across this country, there are people, impacted folks, poor people, who are taking action together. And we were in Marks, Mississippi. We were in Lowndes County, Alabama. We were in El Paso, Texas. We have traveled around this country, because this campaign is a deep organizing drive amongst people who need to have their voices heard, need their stories to be told, so that we hear that there are 140 million poor people in this country, that in this country there are 38 million poor children. Almost half of this country’s children are poor. And this is unacceptable. And so, people are taking action together, and not just today, but they are deep-dive organizing in their communities. They’ll return, week after week, for this 40 days and into the future, as we build a deep moral movement to turn this country around.

Resurrecting Ancient Wisdom & Worldview

1491By Randy Woodley, re-posted with permission from the Ethnic Space and Faith blog

There are stark differences between the worldviews of Indigenous peoples and those whose worldviews developed with the influence of Western Europe. The “age of discovery” brought the Europeans to our Indigenous shores. Many of those theologians and discoverers attributed their discoveries to God and then immediately acted in the most ungodly manner. I am willing to concede that the Creator had a hand in the meeting of the two worlds but I think it has been largely misinterpreted by the Western nations and Western religious bodies. These so called “discoveries” created not only wealth by extraction in previously co-sustained Indigenous lands, labor and resources, but they also created perverted national myths and twisted theological accounts of conquest. These myths have continued to be told time and time again, and with each generation they are reified, built upon and codified into our society’s collective mythologies and memories. Continue reading

Entertainment for Angels

GuatemalaBy Tommy Airey

Detroit, Michigan

“…because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”—Matthew 11:25b

“This pedagogy makes oppression and its causes objects of reflection by the oppressed, and from that reflection will come their necessary engagement in the struggle for their liberation.”–Paolo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972)

Many episodes from the biblical script star the widow, the orphan and the immigrant as a sacred Trinity of sorts. The God known as Steadfast Love consistently compels those who bear the Name to never shame nor blame these three. In fact, in these three, Steadfast Love covenants Herself to Justice, promising to be a swift witness against anyone who oppresses or swears falsely against them.  If one’s theology still makes room for hell, this litmus test ought to be included. Continue reading

God in a Grape; Spirit in a Sheep

JPerk, Ilustration

Icon of the Unburnt Bush 

By Jim Perkinson, a homily on John 15:1-8 and Acts 8:26-40 preached last Sunday to the beloved community at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Detroit

I begin by thanking four primary ancestors: my own Celtic, Nordic, Saxon, Frankish kin deep in the past before my people became sick with white supremacy; the African Eve of all of our origins whose black folk offspring of Detroit engaged survival efforts and justice demands and creation-in-spite-of that are nothing short of prophetic and wondrous; the Algonquian and Haudenosaunee communities of the Strait who lived by profound dignity and wisdom on the land and waters; and all the non-human denizens of this place themselves, whose continuous gift makes possible the breathing and loving and struggle of all of us sitting here. For all of them: gratitude. And indebtedness to live, worthy. Continue reading